How would a contested GOP convention play out?; RNC chairman: Contested convention process is fair

Reince Priebus goes on 'Hannity' to provide insight on the rules


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 16, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, GOP front-runner Donald Trump has a warning for the Republican establishment.

DONALD TRUMP, R, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you disenfranchise those people, I think you would have problems like you've never seen before.

HANNITY: Tucker Carlson, Geraldo Rivera, Kimberly Guilfoyle are here tonight with reaction.

Plus RNC chairman Reince Priebus will weigh in on the possibility of a contested or brokered convention.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Only two campaigns have a plausible path to the nomination, ours and Donald Trump.

HANNITY: And senator Ted Cruz says it's time for his campaign to go head to head with Donald Trump.

CRUZ: Nobody else has any mathematical possibility whatsoever.

HANNITY: Monica Crowley and Mercedes Schlapp will have reaction.

Then Trump releases a blistering new political attack on Hillary Clinton.

"Hannity" starts right here, right now.


HANNITY: And welcome to "Hannity." 2016 Republican front-runner Donald Trump had some big wins last night, and today, well, Trump had this to say about the possibility of contested convention. Watch this.


DONALD TRUMP, R, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we'll win before getting to the convention. But I can tell you, if we didn't and if we're 20 votes short or if we're -- if we're, you know, 100 short, and we're at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, because we're way ahead of everybody, I don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically. I think it would be -- I think, you'd have riots. I think you'd have riots.

If you disenfranchise those people and you say, Well, I'm sorry, but you're100 votes short, even though the next one is 500 votes short, I think you would have problems like you've never seen before. I think -- I think it would -- I think bad things would happen. I really do. I believe that. I wouldn't lead it, but I think bad things would happen.


HANNITY: Here with reaction, FOX News senior correspondent Geraldo Rivera, FOX News contributor Tucker Carlson and the co-host of "The Five," Kimberly Guilfoyle.

All right, this is the most important topic right now in this election. K.G., I'll go to you. Let's say Trump or Cruz, top vote getter, to delegate count getter -- they go to the convention. Now, we all know mathematically, John Kasich -- I like John Kasich.


HANNITY: Mathematically, it's impossible for him to get to 1,237. So he stays in. He's going to try and pick off delegates here, there and everywhere, so to prevent either Trump or Cruz that do have a mathematical possibility, if we get to the convention and they try to take this from the top vote getter and delegate getter, those people aren't going to vote in the general election. What are they thinking here?

GUILFOYLE: Well, you're just -- you're alienating a lot of new people energized in the party that want to vote and cast a vote for the Republican Party and for conservatives in general. Why would you want to disenfranchise and shut those people out? That is the very idea of Washington building a wall themselves and excluding everyone else saying, You can't decide for yourself. We know better. We're going to, in fact, pretend like none of this happened and put in who we decide and we think is best for the country.

HANNITY: Yes. And you know what? Tucker, what would that do but disenfranchise all the people that showed up to caucuses, all the people that went out and pulled the lever for either Trump or Cruz? Assuming Donald Trump has a pretty big advantage now...


HANNITY: ... and -- and again, the very reason that caused this insurgency year, Republicans being weak and feckless and their inability to fight Obama and broken promises on defunding ObamaCare and stopping executive action -- all of that will just reinforce why people voted that way -- this way this year!

CARLSON: Of course. And it's not going to happen. As a factual matter, this is a populist moment. The man with the most delegates is going to be the nominee. The question is, what kind of fight will the Washington Republican Party put up in the meantime?

Here's the problem. They haven't just identified support for Trump as an ideological deviation. They've identified it as a moral crime. Republicans who support Trump, according to the D.C. leadership, are basically collaborators. I mean, they're committing a sin.

They've -- they've -- they've introduced extremism into this to a greater degree even than Trump has. Trump takes all this heat for being an extremist. Listen to the rhetoric of Washington! This guy is immoral. He's a Klansman. He's a Nazi. Once you say things like that -- and they have -- boy, I mean, there's really no reconciliation!

HANNITY: You know, and I want to take it a step further, Geraldo. By the way, good to see you. You know, look at, for example, John Boehner. He's supporting Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan's not running for president. Paul Ryan doesn't want to be the president, he said.

And then he says about Ted Cruz, he's Lucifer and he's a jackass. Now, John Boehner contributed -- wouldn't use the constitutional authority of the press -- of -- of the purse, and he contributed to nearly $5 trillion in new debt because he didn't stand up, and he got fired as a result. So you have that, and then you have this GOP spokesman official saying, Oh, we choose the nominee, not the voters. Listen to this.


CURLEY HAUGLAND, RNC RULES COMMITTEE MEMBER: The rule says specifically that it's a vote of the delegates at the convention.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, not of the actual voters?

HAUGLAND: ... to determine (INAUDIBLE) Not a primary vote. Primary votes are not considered. It's the delegates votes. The media has created the perception that the voters will decide the nomination, and that's the -- that's the conflict here. Political parties choose their nominee, not the general public, contrary to popular belief.


HANNITY: Oh, they get to choose? Then why are we all voting?


HANNITY: We're voting for representatives.


HANNITY: Yes, go ahead.

RIVERA: Oh, I think John Boehner's probably right about Ted Cruz. No, I'm kidding.

I was watching you last night, Sean. I thought you were spot on at 10:00 o'clock Eastern time last night when you said that people would walk away from the Republican Party if Trump was in some way denied. I don't think it'll happen.

I also saw Tucker last night calling Trump an animal. And I just want to say that I know that he meant it a complimentary way, that Trump was a fiscal force of nature...


HANNITY: That was Tucker being Tucker.

RIVERA: No, I agree. That's what I'm saying. But I think in terms of Trump, there is no denying that he will be the Republican nominee. There's no denying that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. This will be the contest. Stop the moaning. Stop the groaning. Get over it. Support the candidate of your choice, but let's move on to the next step, Sean.

HANNITY: I agree with you with you. At least Ted Cruz...

GUILFOYLE: Last of the titans.

HANNITY: Exactly. At least Ted Cruz mathematically has a chance. It's harder for him. He probably needs about 70 percent of remaining delegates.
He's in the race. I don't think anybody should demand that he get out of the race.

GUILFOYLE: Well, Trump has even said this should be a two-man race. He said that even just last week, saying that it should be him versus, you know, Ted Cruz. Kasich did have a big win with Ohio, which is very important state going forward to be able to win the election...

HANNITY: Shouldn't have even been in the race last night.

GUILFOYLE: However -- correct. So now he's in it. And what is he going to be? He's going to be, essentially -- let's just, you know, do the math-- the obstructionist candidate that will represent the establishment going forward to some kind of brokered and contested convention.

But again, what about this whole thing where they are subverting the will of the people and disenfranchising them? What do you mean the delegates? Why is everyone voting, coming out in record numbers? And why wouldn't the Republican Party take them and have an open-arms approach and say, We want all these new, excited people because we lost already with Romney...

HANNITY: But it's even worse than that!

GUILFOYLE: ... and McCain when people didn't show up to vote!

HANNITY: Tucker, it's worse than that! There's a meeting in Washington tomorrow!


HANNITY: I know people that are going to be there.


HANNITY: And you know what the purpose is, is to disenfranchise the voters in this election and try and sneak in a way that they can get somebody else besides, if it's Donald Trump, to get the nomination. Now, Trump, who's brought in new people to the party -- if you don't like him, fine. But didn't we have to suck it up with John McCain and Bob Dole? And weren't we conservatives lectured that we need to do it for the good of the party, even though they were horrible candidates?

CARLSON: We need to run the Romney campaign again. I think Republican leaders were horrified to find out that the middle class can vote in primaries. And the tragedy is -- Kimberly just alluded to this -- they're really send a message, and if the Republican leadership would be a little bit more flexible and just empathize a little bit -- you don't need to make radical changes to your platform, but just say, Look, we care about you, we're going to actually kind of focus on you a little bit, no, we're not going to invade Iraq again, we are sorry for that, I mean, just, like, basic common sense stuff...

HANNITY: You said "learn from them" last night.

CARLSON: Learn from...

HANNITY: That really stuck in my mind.

CARLSON: ... your mistakes and learn from what the voters (INAUDIBLE)


HANNITY: They're not doing it, though. They're doing just the opposite. You know, and Geraldo, I think it's even going further. Tucker's right. They're not learning the lesson of what the voters are saying this election year. But now they're going to create a circular firing squad that would -- or maybe even a third candidate that would ensure the presidency for Hillary Clinton. How stupid is that?

RIVERA: It is stupid. And when I was flirting with the idea of running for Senate as a Republican in New Jersey, the political consultants flocked to me like bees to honey. I said, Wow, is it that I am potentially such a good candidate? No, it was because they wanted a job.

I think that Trump is such a disrupter that he threatens this whole, you know, gravy train that these people...

HANNITY: Geraldo, I would have voted against you.


RIVERA: ... for so long.


RIVERA: You may have. But I believe -- here's what I think, and just the one thing that Kimberly said that I just want to re-emphasize. I think John Kasich has a big role to play. To me, the best, strongest Republican ticket you can imagine is Trump at the top, John Kasich, an experienced, government hand, as the vice president of the United States. I think that would be very potent.

One other thing about disruptions. I lived through 1968. When Hubert Humphrey watched as liberal kids, kids that were leftist and would ordinarily be Democrats, disrupted the process, Humphrey lost to Nixon. It changed the political landscape of the United States. I caution people on the right not to make the same mistake the left did so long ago.

GUILFOYLE: He's (INAUDIBLE) Take Ohio then. That's a -- that's, like -- that's a no-brainer. Good choice.

HANNITY: We're going to have to see. By the way, speaking of disrupters, we are hearing and we'll talk about later that we're going to have a long, hot spring and summer because of the same people that showed up in Chicago last Friday.

Guys, good to see you. Thank you, as always, for being with us.

Coming up, "FOX & Friends" Heather Nauert breaks down what a contested convention could look like. Then reaction from Reince Priebus, and I'll explain to the RNC chairman and why I believe this would be a disaster.

Also, later tonight...


SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Only two campaigns have a plausible path to the nomination, ours and Donald Trump's. Nobody else has any mathematical possibility whatsoever.


HANNITY: Texas senator Ted Cruz stating these obvious, this is now a two- man race.

Also tonight...




HANNITY: I think maybe the greatest ad ever. That was Donald Trump's new blistering attack against Hillary Clinton. We'll show you the full ad and more coming up tonight on "Hannity."



HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." 2016 GOP front-runner Donald Trump had several big primary wins last night, but if he doesn't reach the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination, well, could we end up with a contested GOP convention?

Joining us now tonight at the "Hannity" big board to explain what that would mean is "FOX & Friends" own Heather Nauert. Everyone's talking about that.

HEATHER NAUERT, "FOX & FRIENDS": That's right. Hi, there, Sean. Hi, everyone.

You mentioned the magic number that everybody's been talking about, so in order for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich to win the Republican nomination, one of them would need to come away with 1,237 delegates before the Republican convention this summer in Cleveland.

According to the Associated Press as of this morning, Donald Trump has to win a little over 50 percent of the remaining delegates to capture that nomination, so he actually has a pretty good chance at this point.

Senator Ted Cruz needs to win a little less than 80 percent of the remaining delegates to be the nominee. Governor John Kasich, statistically eliminated. He would need more than 100 percent of the remaining delegates to come away as the nominee.

So Sean, if those candidates do not lock up the required delegates, then we could be headed for a contested convention. Now, in that scenario, delegates would be forced to vote for the party nominee on the convention floor. Most states and territories, those delegates are actually required to vote based on the outcome of the previously decided primaries or caucuses.

But if no candidate reaches the 1,237 mark after that first round of voting, then a portion of delegates would become unbound, meaning that they can support any candidate that they would like. If the 1,237 threshold is not reached on the second vote, then even more delegates are released or unbound, and voting continues until a candidate reaches the majority needed.

You got all that? So is it possible that even if Donald Trump had the most delegates headed into the convention, he could end up losing the nomination if he fails to get the delegate support that is actually required?

Now, Sean, the potential process may sound very unfair to a whole lot of people, but it has happened before, most recently back in 1976. The Republican nomination was settled at the convention, with Gerald Ford defeating Ronald Reagan.

So there are a lot of ways that this whole thing could play out. We'll keep an eye on it as it evolves just over the days -- Sean.

HANNITY: All right, but in '76, Gerald Ford had the majority. He had more delegates.

NAUERT: Right, right, right.

HANNITY: So -- all right. Heather, is there a test at 10:30?

NAUERT: You got all that?


HANNITY: All right.

NAUERT: Thanks so much.

HANNITY: Thank you very much. All right.

And earlier today, I spoke with RNC chairman Reince Priebus.


HANNITY: Mr. Chairman, good to see you.

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Hey, great to be with you, Sean.

HANNITY: OK, this is really important because John Kasich mathematically has no chance, no chance to get to 1,237. You're the chairman of the party. Why then would he stay in? Because, you know, for Cruz supporters and Trump supporters, they're saying all he's doing is preventing anybody from getting to the magic number.

Do you think that's right? Do you think that's good for the party?

PRIEBUS: Well, I think that the governor can make his own decision. You know, obviously, what I would tell you is that if someone gets the majority of delegates, of bound delegates before the convention, they're going to be the nominee. I mean, there's just no -- there's no doubt about that.

So then the only question then is -- and the review is very good -- the only question therefore is, if someone doesn't get the majority by the time you get to Cleveland, what is the procedure thereafter? And I thought the explanation was very good. And it is fair. I mean, the reality is, is that you have to get a majority of voting delegates on the floor to be the nominee.

HANNITY: OK, I understand that. But...

PRIEBUS: What a candidate does, though -- right. I was just going to say...

HANNITY: If somebody falls short, though...

PRIEBUS: If John...

HANNITY: I'm sorry, Mr. Chairman.


HANNITY: If somebody falls short and they fall short because -- between now -- and when does it end, June 7th I think is the last primaries. Between now and then, let's say Kasich picks off 200 delegates, OK, and that prevents Trump or Cruz from getting it, they have a mathematical chance to get there, then at that point in time, then they have served the position of spoiler.

Now, I just am imagining -- Kasich says that would be educational. But if the establishment comes in and they try and say, Well, let's get a consensus candidate and were to take it away from either the delegate winner and the vote winner, Trump or Cruz, they're going to walk out! Those people are going to be so angry and so frustrated and feel so disenfranchised. Don't you think that creates nothing but a disaster?

PRIEBUS: Well, I mean, that's why you have to play it aboveboard. I mean, I can't carpet the world and tell candidates what to do and not do, but the truth is, is that if a candidate were to drop out, those delegates would become unbound, Sean.

So you would still not be able to count that delegate as a bound delegate. So it's still up to the candidate themselves to accumulate a majority of bound delegates before the convention. So dropping out wouldn't create a bounty of bound delegates. It would simply create more unbound delegates that are basically free agents on the floor.

So to your point, though, that's why it's really important for the party to play it straight, to not play games, to be transparent and say these are going to be the rules, and when the time comes that we know whether we're going to have an open convention or not, that everyone understands moving forward that the preparations are being made, everyone's included in those conversations.

And when you get to Cleveland, if that were to happen, you want people to at least say, when they walk away, OK, they played it straight. That's what's really important in this process.

HANNITY: I got to tell you it's getting a little scary to me because I think a lot of people would feel like -- let me give you an example. I want to play for you...


HANNITY: ... this is a GOP official, this person from North Dakota. I'm sure you know him, Curly Haugland saying, Oh, wait a minute. We choose the nominee, not the voters. Why are we all voting then? Listen to this.


CURLY HAUGLAND: The rule says specifically that it's a vote of the delegates at the convention...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, not of the actual voters.

HAUGLAND: ... to determine the (INAUDIBLE) majority. Not a primary vote. Primary votes are not considered. It's the delegates' vote. The media created the perception that the voters will decide the nomination, and that's the -- that's the conflict here. Political parties choose their nominee, not the general public, contrary to popular belief.


HANNITY: We choose the voters, not the people. Well, the people choose their representative to vote! So it seem that if that's the attitude, that seems like a pretty arrogant statement, and you know, when's the point of anybody voting then?

PRIEBUS: Well, you have to understand, in North Dakota, they don't have committed delegates. They're all unbound. So go into the convention as free agents, and that's the mindset that they bring into the convention.

But I can assure you that if you have the majority of bound delegates, you're going to be the nominee. One person's opinion can't change that. But it is true that delegates that are bound based on the outcomes of these elections choose the nominee. So there's a lot of word playing here, but if a nominee gets the requisite number of bound delegates, they will be -- I mean, the candidate will be the nominee. There's just no question about that, Sean.

HANNITY: All right.

PRIEBUS: And all of these stories are going to continue, and everyone's going to have opinions and they're going to get people stirred up. But those delegates will vote on the first ballot as they're bound to vote under the law.

HANNITY: Mr. Chairman, I hope you're not in this position, but if there's an effort by the establishment to try and undermine and create a consensus candidate -- as John Boehner said, anybody can be nominated on the convention floor, and I want Paul Ryan to get it -- if that happens, I would argue that Cruz and Trump supporters will walk out and you won't see them again. And I hope that doesn't happen.

PRIEBUS: If -- you know what? The first ballot is going to be very important because on the first ballot is when all the bound delegates...

HANNITY: I'm just telling you...

PRIEBUS: ... vote.

HANNITY: If the number one one...


HANNITY: ... and the number one...

PRIEBUS: I understand what you're saying!

HANNITY: If the number one vote getter doesn't get the nomination, they're going to walk out if there's shenanigans that go on. That's my admonition. And I'm not saying you're responsible...

PRIEBUS: It's not -- but Sean -- Sean -- Sean, it's not a matter of number one vote getter. It is you have to have a majority of delegates...

HANNITY: I got it.

PRIEBUS: ... to be the nominee.

HANNITY: But if they're trying...

PRIEBUS: There's nothing nefarious about that. You have the majority.

HANNITY: But if -- if you take it from somebody that has a huge lead, it will be ugly!


HANNITY: Coming up next tonight here on "Hannity"...


SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Only two campaigns have a plausible path to the nomination, ours and Donald Trump's. Nobody else has any mathematical possibility whatsoever.


HANNITY: All right, Senator Cruz states the obvious, declares this is now a two-man race. So why is John Kasich still in? Mercedes Schlapp, Monica Crowley weigh in.

Then later tonight...




HANNITY: Donald Trump's new ad, which is hilarious, attacking Hillary Clinton.

And also, Shannon Bream and Peter Johnson, Jr., react to the president's Supreme Court nominee, who shouldn't be even talked about. I'll explain.

Plus, according to a new report, we could see a lot of political protests similar to what took place in Chicago last week. That disturbing report straight ahead.



SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Starting tomorrow morning, every Republican has a clear choice. Only two campaigns have a plausible path to the nomination, ours and Donald Trump's. Nobody else has any mathematical possibility whatsoever.


HANNITY: All right, that was Texas senator Ted Cruz telling it like it is. This is now a two-man race between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

Here with analysis, FOX News contributors Mercedes Schlapp and Monica Crowley. Look, mathematically, he is 1,000 percent right, Monica!


HANNITY: So why is John Kasich in? Why is John Boehner saying, Oh, anybody can be nominated on the convention floor. I want Paul Ryan. And then he calls Ted Cruz Lucifer!

CROWLEY: Well, I think the establishment -- they're invested in seeing neither Trump nor Cruz win this nomination...

HANNITY: Too bad! Too bad! They lost!

CROWLEY: I understand -- look, I completely get it and I'm with you on that, but this is the dynamic that's happening. So they put their eggs into the Jeb Bush basket, that failed. They put their eggs into the Marco Rubio basket, that's failed. I think they're hoping that John Kasich scores enough delegates to deny either one of them the nomination outright, and that looks like the road we're going down right now.

They hate Ted Cruz. They fear Donald Trump. And they're willing to throw the spaghetti against the wall, Sean, and hope that something sticks to deny the will of the people, whether they're voting for Trump or Cruz!

HANNITY: You know, Mercedes, I mentioned earlier that there's going to be this big meeting in D.C. tomorrow on how to get an alternative. I think it's mostly against Donald Trump. But I agree with Monica that I think they're against Trump and Cruz.

Let me play for you Mark Halperin. He has the Showtime show called "The Circus." And listen to this, you know, K Street, you know, back room dealers talking about the problem of a Donald Trump candidacy.


RICK HOLT: Everybody around this table that I know, we've been in every presidential campaign probably since 1980 in various degrees. And in Trump's problem, he doesn't have -- you don't know what his compass is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How problematic is that for the future of the party?

HOLT: I think before it's all over, it's going to be hugely problematic.

VIN WEBER: I talk to people a lot of times (INAUDIBLE) around the table (INAUDIBLE) Why don't you Republicans do something about this guy?

WEBER: I'm sorry. This is not Soviet Union. We can't call a meeting and decide Trump is out!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we hate that!



HANNITY: Mercedes, isn't the very cause of the rise of Cruz and Trump the very thing that they continue to do? They won't look in the mirror. They won't admit they caused this. They take no blame on themselves for the position they're in. And all they're doing is trying to usurp the will of the people and disenfranchise the voters.

How's this all going to end up if they do it?

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: You know, Sean, I think the establishment -- they really don't understand the phenomenon that's occurring in America. They don't understand the fact that out in Kansas, for example, a relative of mine, her husband lost his job. Guess what? She's so mad at Washington that what she wants is they want complete change.

And that's why, for example, they voted for Donald Trump. When you look at state by state by state, you're looking at between 60 to 80 percent of the GOP electorate that are voting for the outsiders. That means Ted Cruz, who I call the original outsider, who took on the establishment, and Donald Trump.

And that is something that the establishment here in Washington -- it's funny. It's all the inside-the-Beltway folks who are basically looking at this, saying, What's going on here? Why -- because we -- because here in Washington, they haven't felt the effects of the economic recession!

HANNITY: All right, so then The next question, Monica, is they're going to, you know, cut the nose to spite their face? Are the establishment going to turn on -- the winner?

CROWLEY: Well, many of them are. I mean, many of them are...


HANNITY: Wait a minute...

CROWLEY: ... that they would rather have Hillary Clinton...

HANNITY: They'll vote for Hillary Clinton...

CROWLEY: ... than Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, by the way.


CROWLEY: Look, and this is not surprise. When I say that they fear Donald Trump, what they fear is that this guy is promising to come in and smash the existing order. That means all of their power, all of their control over the party and their gravy trains, the special interests, all the big money that they get -- he's promising to blow that wide open, which is what the American people want, at least the Republican voters who keep him on a winning trail here.

HANNITY: You know, Mercedes, if they're going to be that self-destructive, if they're going to pout and they're going to pick up their little toys and they're going to go home like a bunch of babies, they will destroy -- there will be no Republican Party at the end of this because if they're successful, guess what? Cruz and Trump supporters are walking out, and I'm walking out with them!

SCHLAPP: Right. And I think that if you have the state party officials, if you have these delegates that really at the end to not support the person who gets to that majority of the delegates, of the votes, you know, it creates -- it creates complete chaos. And I really feel that, for example, the Kasich crew, he is trying to build this anti-Trump --

HANNITY: That's fair. He has got a mathematical chance. It's not great, but he's got a shot.

SCHLAPP: He is the one who is saying I'm the only one who can be that anti-Trump.

HANNITY: He's right.

SCHLAPP: But here's the deal. Those never Trump people, they are going to have to make a decision come November. Will they really allow Hillary Clinton to become commander in chief?

HANNITY: That's a great question.

SCHLAPP: I mean, that would be a complete disappointment for the Republican Party. We need to unify. It's only way we can beat Hillary.

HANNITY: Last word, Monica?

MONICA CROWLEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: There is still a race between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. That's true. But in any other year with another other frontrunner like Donald Trump who is scoring win after win, the conservative base, the Republican Party will be backing him.

HANNITY: And bringing new people in the process, and the enthusiasm gap, David Plouffe pointed out last night that is huge.

CROWLEY: So if it's anybody else, they would start to coalesce. They would get others who are not in a position to challenge him, like Kasich, out of the race, and they would be helping him, Sean. They'd be briefing him on the issues.

HANNITY: Undermining both of them.

CROWLEY: All of this stuff, they would be trying to help him and instead they're undermining him.

HANNITY: Sad. It's really pathetic.

Coming up. Now get this. Left wing agitators created plenty of chaos in Chicago last week, and according to a new report, it could be a long, hot spring and summer filled with more of these protests and potentially violence. We'll get to that.

And later tonight --




HANNITY: Donald Trump releases a hilarious video slamming Hillary Clinton. We'll play that and get reaction.

And then later, the president introduced his Supreme Court nominee earlier today, setting up a showdown with Republicans. We'll check in with Shannon Bream and Peter Johnson Jr. The question is, will they hold the line or are they going to cave like they usually do? Straight ahead.  


HANNITY: Welcome back to HANNITY. So in a move reminiscent of Occupy Wall Street, a leftwing group is now threatening to target Washington, D.C., with, quote, "the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation." The group which calls itself "Democracy Spring" declared on its website, quote, "We will demand that Congress listen to the people and take immediate action to save our democracy, and we won't leave until they do or until they send thousands of us to jail." Well, could this mean that we are in for a long hot, spring and summer filled with unrest and protests like we saw in Chicago last weekend?

Here with reaction, conservative columnist A.J. Delgado, radio talk show host Larry Elder. Good to see you both. A.J., we all saw what happened in Chicago. Now we know who is involved --, Bernie Sanders supporters, all these left wing groups, which, by the way, have been legitimized like in the case of Black Lives Matter by being invited to the Obama White House. All of these groups organizing. Fundamentally I don't like the sounds of what they're predicting here. Thoughts?

A.J. DELGADO, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Right. And it is Donald Trump who is somehow to blame for what these opponents of his do, right? That's the most ironic part.

What I find funny is we keep hearing when you say they're being legitimized, they are. We keep hearing them referred to as protesters. They're not protesters. Protesters are people who stand outside with signs exercising their free speech, right? Once they come inside that venue and look to silence and disrupt those around them, it's actually against federal law. They're committing a federal crime. You cannot disrupt or protest inside a venue where the Secret Service is providing protection.
They're committing a federal crime. This is a fact. And yet where do you hear this in the media? They're constantly lionized, idolized, praised, even as protesters who are nobly exercising this right when really they're just thugs. They're criminal thugs.

HANNITY: You know, let me go to you, Larry. You know, you saw the video of this guy that jumps the barrier, you know, like we see right there on the screen. This guy jumps the barrier and he gets charged with a misdemeanor. You know, and he had put out a threat, sort of a threatening tweet that he later erased, and yet a misdemeanor? I couldn't imagine if somebody did this to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, do you think that's all they would be charged with?

LARRY ELDER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I don't know whether that would be all they would be charged with, but I will say this. We ought to be paying these people. They have no idea they're playing right into Donald Trump's hands. The idea that if Donald Trump has a different point of view on immigration, a different point of view on trade, all of a sudden therefore he should be threatened and we should disrupt the ability of people to come and hear him speak. This is the kind of PC stuff that Donald Trump is talking about. They're playing right into the hands. It didn't hurt Donald Trump on Super Tuesday II. In fact it probably benefited him.

We'd almost have to pay the guys to be doing this. It is exposing them for the hypocrites they are, the disrupters that they are, and the criminals that they are. He is playing into Donald Trump's hands. He's going to get--

HANNITY: If that happens, that only helps him in the end. I agree, assuming Trump gets the nomination.

ELDER: Absolutely.

HANNITY: But what do you make, A.J. --

ELDER: He'll get the nomination.

HANNITY: -- all the establishment guys, everything we've been talking about tonight, that they want this to get to the convention so they can disenfranchise all the people that voted not the way they wanted. A.J.?

DELGADO: Yes, well, look, the establishment for a year now has been all about cheap labor, amnesty, cronyism, offshoring our jobs, outsourcing our economy. And Donald Trump not only doesn't stand for that, he's stands firmly against it. So his nomination I think will come, you can bet on that, is the end of their gravy train. So of course they're going to try to pull every trick in the book.

I should warn them not to because the people are not going to stand for being disenfranchised that way. He will have the plurality of the support. If they try to deny the nominee that has the plurality of those delegates, it's going to cause havoc. I don't think they want that.

HANNITY: I think it's worse than havoc. I think they're going to say to all these people that voted, they'll all stay home. And I'll stay home with them. Larry?


ELDER: And, Sean, I analyzed it a little bit different. I like Ted Cruz. Virtually nothing that Ted Cruz stands for --

HANNITY: I like him, too.

ELDER: -- that I don't agree with. But the problem is the establishment does not understand this is not a center-right country. That is center- left country. And the Ronald Reagan people aren't there anymore. And 35 years of indoctrination has caused half the country to believe there's a free lunch and the Republicans are stopping them from eating it. Donald Trump is a populist. It is exactly where the American people are. Somebody like Ted Cruz, as much as we like him, Sean, as bright as he is could not be elected right now. Donald Trump can and he can beat Hillary.

HANNITY: They would be doing this to Cruz, too. They actually are doing this to Cruz.

ELDER: Of course they would.

HANNITY: John Boehner calling Cruz Lucifer yesterday. I'm sick of all these people, because they caused it and now they're trying to undermine the voters.

All right, let me play -- I think this is probably one of the funniest campaign ads I have ever seen. This is Donald Trump's Instagram ad. Watch this.


CLINTON: Arf, arf, arf, arf, arf, arf.



HANNITY: We don't need to be a punch line. You know, isn't that the type of thing that has drawn attention to the insurgency, A.J. Delgado?

DELGADO: Yes. Look, he's one of us. He speaks like us. He says what we think. And he's just someone that you could see yourself having a beer with, the way he makes these jokes, that type of ad. We love he's breaking with the typical orthodoxy that you're not supposed to put on an ad like that. This is why Donald Trump, is as they call him the blue collar billionaire. He's one of the guys. I love that he's put on an ad like this.

HANNITY: Last word, Larry, real quick?

ELDER: I have got a friend who can't stand Donald Trump. He's a conservative Republican. He said how does a billionaire become a hero of blue collar people? I said, well, he's going to stop their jobs from being shipped away, they believe, and he's going to do something about illegal immigration taking away the jobs. That's all.

HANNITY: All right, guys. Thank you.


HANNITY: When we come back, President Obama announced his Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Scalia earlier today. Shannon Bream and Peter Johnson Jr. weigh in next. I hope it's not going to happen, straight ahead.  


HANNITY: Welcome back to HANNITY. So earlier today President Obama announced his Supreme Court nominee to fill Justice Antonin Scalia's seat. Joining us from Washington with the very latest, our own Shannon Bream. Shannon?

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Sean. While he's a widely respected jurist, but conservative scholars say don't be fooled. The president knows exactly what he is doing with the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.


CARRIE SEVERINO, JUDICIAL CRISIS NETWORK: There's no way this president would nominate someone to the Supreme Court who he wasn't confident of in joining the four very extremely liberal judges we already have on the Supreme Court to make an unassailable five justice majority for just a laundry list of items.


BREAM: Critics argue that includes the Second Amendment and say Garland's record on the issue puts him in stark contrast to Justice Antonin Scalia's hearty defense of individual gun ownership. Back when he was on the short list to replace Justice Stevens in 2010, New York Magazine said, quote, "His consensus building skills might make him the best progressive hope for staving off the court's very more conservative tilt." Here's how Garland himself described the role of a judge today.


JUDGE MERRICK GARLAND, SCOTUS NOMINEE: He or she must put aside his personal views or preferences and follow the law, not make it.


BREAM: Senate Republicans say it doesn't matter, that their objection to the nomination has nothing to do with the person and everything to do with the process. Here's Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.


MITCH MCCONNELL, R-K.Y., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: It is the president's constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice, and it is the Senate's constitutional right to act as a check on a president and withhold its consent.


BREAM: McConnell said he had a phone call with Judge Garland today and wished him well. He said there is no point in them meeting. Several other GOP senators today, said, though, they will meet with Garland if only to explain why they cannot support his nomination. Sean?

HANNITY: All right, Shannon Bream, thank you. Joining us now, FOX News legal analyst, Peter Johnson, Jr. You know, it's what goes around, comes around.


HANNITY: Mitch McConnell citing the Biden rule, then senator Biden when he was on the Senate Judiciary Committee said "President Bush should consider the practice of the majority of his predecessors and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed. And if the president were to go ahead, a process already endowed, many of us should, all the Senate consideration, distrusted by the Senate, that they shouldn't go forward."


HANNITY: So why should the Republicans act any different than --

JOHNSON: No, no, the Democrats would act the same if they were in the same position because it's a political determination. Listen, President Obama wants everyone to believe that somehow the Senate has an absolute duty that once he makes a nomination they must advise and consent under Article Two, Section Two, Clause Two of the United States Constitution.

Now, they have the power to do so, but there is no mandate that they do so. And so the president is saying I have a constitutional duty to nominate, and you have a constitutional duty that you must advise and consent. No, no, no, no, no. Under the Constitution, the Senate and House have the right to make their own rules. And if they decide not to take up the nomination and advise and consent President Obama, then the nomination goes nowhere.

HANNITY: And Joe Biden further went on, "It's my view that if," President George Herbert Walker Bush, "goes the way of past presidents in an election year, makes an election year nomination," then he said "the Senate Judiciary Committee should consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over."

So I'm with Joe Biden.

JOHNSON: Absolutely. And what Republicans are saying is this is such a politically charged time in America. And this is such a serious appointment to make. Put it aside until political issues are decided and a new president is chosen. And what Senate McConnell said was whoever wins, Senator Grassley said Republican or Democrat, whoever the new president is. What the president is doing is skillful. It's politically manipulative. He's saying it's the political version of "Let's make a deal." I have a guy for you here, Chief Judge Garland. And he is a man of integrity and he is an excellent --

HANNITY: And he's a left-winger.

JOHNSON: Maybe he is, maybe he isn't.


JOHNSON: And he wants to be sold as a conservative or as a moderate. And so their saying, oh, we had this good moderate over here, we know he's going to be a moderate. And we just heard now in Shannon Bream's report, why would he appoint a moderate? So do you want the cash, which is the conservative allegedly, or do you want the curtain? You don't know what is behind the curtain.

HANNITY: I think we have some insight into Garland being a left wing jurist. He would overturn the Heller decision, the Second Amendment is in trouble. And this is a tipping point for the court.


HANNITY: So the question is, has Obama talked all consensus today, I'm thinking, wait a minute. Isn't the guy that said Justice Roberts is extremely qualified for the position and then went against them? And wasn't he one of the few senators to ever filibuster a Supreme Court choice in the case of Justice Alito?

JOHNSON: Nothing makes sense in the White House. This is about politics. This is about trying to put a wedge issue on the Republicans, trying to embarrass them. They're putting up tweets. They're going to a dozen cities. They're raising money. They're doing everything to embarrass the Republicans in a presidential year.

HANNITY: So they're trying to gin up their base, and Republicans, if they hold the line, they might actually get some brownie points considering they have disappointed their base.

JOHNSON: If they discuss the constitution and what the true powers of advise and consent are under the constitution, then they're on steady, strong ground.

HANNITY: And on political grounds, all they need to do is cite Obama and Joe Biden and there is your precedent.

JOHNSON: I think you put it together in a wonderful syllogism, Mr.

HANNITY: Thank you. Thank you, counselor.

JOHNSON: I confer on you the degree.


HANNITY: Let's not go that far. All right, Peter Johnson Jr.


JOHNSON: Thank you.

HANNITY: And coming up, we need your help. A very important "Question of the Day" is straight ahead.


HANNITY: Welcome back to HANNITY. Time for our "Question of the Day." If a GOP candidate fails to get the 1,237 delegates needed, should the GOP candidate with the most delegates and the most votes, should they get the nomination? The answer to the question is, I think, yes. I think you don't disenfranchise the votes of the people. And I think there are people in the establishment that want to do that and are plotting and planning and scheming to make that happen.

Just go to, @SeanHannity on Twitter, let us know what you think. That is all the time we have left this evening. As always, thank you for being with us. We'll see you back here tomorrow night.

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